The Crime Blotter

Purse-Snatcher Made Out While Victim Was Made Over

People routinely get their handbags stolen on the bus, the subway and while dining at restaurants. But perhaps there’s no place in New York more hospitable to the pickpocket’s craft than the main-floor cosmetics department of Bloomingdale’s, where women in search of that perfect shade of eyeshadow or blush can easily get distracted. That’s where a 47-year-old Brooklyn woman was on Jan. 24 when her purse was snatched.

The victim took a seat-or more likely, a stool-in the cosmetics department at 5:15 p.m., placed her handbag under her chair and abandoned herself to a beauty makeover. When it was done, she bent over to retrieve her bag and discovered it missing. The purse contained her wallet, checkbook, two AmEx cards, a Visa and a Lord & Taylor card, her driver’s license and a library card.

After realizing it was gone, the newly beautified (and probably cosmetics-laden) customer reported to the store’s lost-and-found department where, lo and behold, her bag had been returned. A Bloomingdale’s employee had discovered it in another part of the store and returned it, though with the aforementioned items missing.

It goes without saying that the victim-whose mind obviously had been fully focused on her beauty treatment-told store detectives there was no way she’d be able to identify her assailant.

Perp’s Personal Shopper

In another incident at Bloomingdale’s, store detectives on Feb. 9 arrested a couple of shoplifters who were taking advantage of the convenience of their cell phones to commit their crime.

A store detective, who was tailing a suspicious female, watched as she removed 13 garments valued at $1,305 from store racks while chatting on her cell phone. As it turns out, she wasn’t so adept a crook that she could multitask, conducting a conversation and shoplifting at the same time. And the phone was not, as one might assume, part of a ruse to make the guards think she was one of the department store’s legitimate cell-phone-obsessed shoppers.

Rather, she was talking to her boyfriend, who was waiting for her in a dressing room and telling her what to steal. Once she’d gathered the garments, she took them over to him. He then got busy removing their clothing sensors, placing them in two paper bags and returning them to his girlfriend.

As sophisticated as their M.O. was, it didn’t fool the store detectives, who stopped them as they attempted to depart. The female, 19 and from Yonkers, and her male accomplice, 22 and from the Bronx, were charged with grand larceny.

Bad Day for TV

Pity the poor family, whoever they are, forced to watch the Olympics on a conventional TV. A truck driver for Team Air Express reported to the cops several weeks ago that he was returning to his vehicle after making a delivery at 910 Park Avenue when he discovered that one of his boxes was missing. And a rather large box it must have been, since it contained a 50-inch NEC Plasma TV worth $9,000.

The driver told the police that there was no damage to the truck or to the lock, though he couldn’t say for sure whether he’d secured the truck’s cargo bay when he left to make his delivery. A search of the area for somebody staggering under the weight of a TV set the size of a dinner table was unsuccessful.

Noises Off

It probably won’t come as a surprise that given the current political climate, the Palestinian Authority aren’t the most popular guys in town. In fact, the owner of a brownstone adjoining the authority’s 65th Street mission Scotch-taped an Osama bin Laden wanted poster to his front door, just to let his Arab neighbors know where his sentiments lay.

Demonstrations in front of the mission also aren’t uncommon. But what may have been a first was a kind of double demonstration that took place on Jan. 28. To be more precise, a group of approximately 60 people representing a variety of organizations had gathered at the mission at about 7:30 p.m. to suggest, in a law-abiding way, that the Palestinians get out of town. While they were protesting, a second impromptu demonstration, composed of passing motorists honking their horns in solidarity with the demonstrators, started.

One can only guess the psychic toll on the elegant block’s well-heeled co-op and brownstone owners. They are treated to weekly (and sometimes daily) demonstrations, and their block was barricaded for several weeks after Sept. 11 by cops who feared a retaliatory strike against the authority.

In any case, the police did their best to stop the cacophony by slapping moving violations on five motorists who were sitting on their horns. Their crime, according to the police, was “using the horn for other than danger.”